Posted in backyard birding, Eastern bluebirds, Northeast Ohio

Bad weather for birds

The weather wasn’t too bad in the morning, and a lonesome male bluebird stopped by to check out the nesting box. I’d like to think he was scouting for a home for his mate and future family, but I won’t be holding my breath on that score.

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However, as the day progressed, the weather worsened. In late afternoon I looked out the window to see snow falling and rapidly covering the ground with a coating of that white stuff, which looks magical in December, but by March…not so much! After the bluebird visitation this morning, there was very little bird activity. I took one last glance out the window as the light was fading,  and saw only some snowbirds (juncos) and a couple of mourning doves,  sheltering at the base of one of the feeders.  When the dove posed next to the water bowl, I snapped her picture.

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That was all the excitement for the day, and it was enough for me. I’m laying low for few days, recovering from a tumble off our back steps that resulted in an entire night in a massively crowded emergency room. And, no, I don’t know how it happened. They kept asking if I had passed out, lost consciousness, or felt dizzy, and all I could say was ,”No, no, and no,” whenever anyone asked.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!!!
See you soon, Trail Walker
Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, Memorable Moments

Birds before breakfast

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I was excited when I glanced through the kitchen window  at the backyard buffet and discovered an Eastern bluebird posing for multiple photo opps. The sky was overcast, as it usually is in February. A sunny blue sky would have been appreciated, but it wasn’t essential because this colorful visitor arrived with his own special brand of sunshine. And talk about blue! The hue on his wings suggested that they  had been dipped into a can of brilliant blue paint. Take a look at these photos of his morning grooming session.

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Mr. Bluebird wasn’t our only visitor yesterday.  Look who else stopped by to say hello! These unexpected sightings…all before breakfast, made this a memorable morning.

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The pileated woodpecker didn’t hold his pose for as much as a minute. He flew in, landed long enough for me to click off two shots, and whoooooshhh, he was gone!   But I got the shots, which made this a very good morning!

Thanks for stopping by to say hello.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, My trail walks

Return of the pileated woodpeckers

The light was dull this morning, and I couldn’t get a great picture, but look who reappeared in our backyard this morning. We haven’t been visited by the pileateds for months, and this morning I heard the distinctive “I’m here!” call, ran to my window, and there he was high up on the tall oak tree. “Guess who’s in the backyard,” I called to Bob, “and there are actually two of them!” The one shown in today’s post hanging out on the oak tree for about 15 minutes, seemed to be drilling in the bark for food.  I only caught a glimpse of the second bird, which was higher in the trees and moving around more then the male. I’m not sure if they were two males or a male/female pair, but whichever, I was really excited to see them.
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That was my backyard birding highlight for the week, but here are a couple two more recent visitors:

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A white-breasted nuthatch

…and two bluejays, who seem a little uncertain about sharing the feast I set out for them on the tree stump.

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Just some ordinary backyard birds, but fun to watch from my post inside the kitchen window.

Thanks for visiting my backyard buffet today.
I hope to see you again soon.
Trail Walker


Posted in animal photography, backyard birding, Northeast Ohio, winter

Lazy (and wet) Sunday afternoon

The temperature was hovering around zero with freezing rain tapping on the window pane, so backyard birding seemed like a better idea than trudging down the trail in the park. Call me a wimp, if you want,  but I’m happiest indoors in weather like this.

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Trio of bluejays

The bluejays don’t seem to mind much as long as the rain isn’t pelting down, but I do mind, so I decided to do a little backyard birding from inside my kitchen window today.

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In most tree-shaded backyards, birding usually includes squirrels, and my yard is no different.  This squirrel is sheltering under the bird feeder, and he looks pretty happy about having the food all to himself.

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Most days I prefer birding along the trail in the park, but today I am thankful to capture my birds through the window. I hope you enjoyed the view.

Thanks for joining me. Let’s hope for sunny weather soon.
I’m not a trailwalker today!


Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, Color me Spring!

Good news, but potentially bad news too

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Despite the chill in the air, the little ruby-throated hummers were active at our feeders over the past few days. This one doesn’t seem to mind temperatures in the high 50s under overcast skies nearly as much as I do. He’s wearing his summer colors, while I am wearing my winter socks and warm sweater. (Sigh)! Apparently he enjoys the ease of perching on the new feeders as he sips sugar water. That is good news that cheers me immensely. The little summers are such a joy to see.

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And multiple members of the goldfinch family have been enjoying their tube feeder and visit often. Here is one resting on “shepherd’s crook” between visits to the feeder.

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The bad news is that I haven’t seen the bluebirds for several days. They have deserted the nesting box. I thought I glimpsed one at the new box late yesterday, only to discover it wasn’t a bluebird, it was this bird:

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A wren! Now wrens are cute little birds, but they’re not noted for their kindness to other small birds. I’ve never before seen a wren in the backyard buffet. A new bird can be interesting to watch, but, given the reputation of wrens, I fear for the fate of my beloved bluebirds. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “When nesting, wrens become very aggressive, often chasing other birds out of nesting sites and sometimes destroying other birds’ eggs.” Does anyone have any advice about how to handle with this situation?

I will say, there is never a dull moment in the backyard buffet!

See you soon. Hopefully with good news!
~Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, bird buffet, Color me Spring!, Eastern bluebirds

Ongoing saga of the backyard buffet

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It’s clear to the eye that this is another rainy morning, but nevertheless, the birds arrived for breakfast as usual. The redbellied woodpecker, shown in the picture above, wasn’t happy to discover that the hopper feeder had been totally emptied overnight. She is not sure how this happens and neither are we, although we are beginning to suspect collusion between deer and raccoons. To my dismay, the deer wander the neighborhood at night, although sometimes they don’t wait until nightfall. Anytime will do for them. They come up the hill out of the park, cross one street, and walk down another street into our neighborhood. They know exactly where the softies live who put out food for the birds, and that becomes their next meal, of course. This has been their routine forever. So I don’t put out as much food, only enough for the birds to eat during the day, leaving only a few leftovers for the marauding deer. That left the bird buffet pretty much unscathed until I purchased a hanging fuschia plant because someone said hummingbirds love them. It’s true; they do, but so do the deer. Unfortunately!

Then one morning, I looked out the window at the bird buffet and noticed that the lid to the hopper feeder was wide open. The pileated woodpecker was sitting on top of it, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. The open and empty  feeder is what caught my eye. Some greedy varmint had lifted the lid, flipped it back, and eaten all the bird seed. All of it! The deer didn’t do that! We must have raccoons roaming the neighborhood under cover of darkness. That’s when I began to think we are fighting a losing battle here. Squirrels and deer any time of the day and raccoons at night. This may be a lost cause!

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However, as I continue to wage my war with the unwelcome wildlife, there are still the bluebirds to enjoy. A few days ago, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird got up the gumption to enter the new bird house, and apparently they liked it.

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I’m not sure, but I think they may put in a bid on the property. I hope they do because I would be happy to have them as neighbors.

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, bird buffet, Color me Spring!, memories

More backyard birding

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The colorful bird featured in my post yesterday, the redheaded woodpecker, is extremely rare in my backyard. Today’s bird, the Baltimore oriole, used to stop by on rare occasions only. Now it flies in for multiple visits daily, enjoying the grape jelly I generously serve in the new jelly dish I purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited. It’s a bird named for a baseball team and a slight twist on the expression, “If you build it, they will come,” from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams.” In my case, it’s “If you buy it (their favorite kind of food and feeder), they will come.”

Here’s a memory for baseball fans “of a certain age” who can remember when two major league teams played in Philadelphia. Many years ago, when Connie Mack’s Athletics were still making headlines at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, my father and I were big fans. We would go to the season openers and shiver in the box seats on the home team’s side, hoping for a win by our A’s; and we would sit in the sun to watch spring training games in West Palm Beach, Florida to cheer them on.  When the A’s left Philadelphia and my parents retired and moved to Baltimore, Daddy switched his allegiance to the Orioles. I’m sure he would love to see these beautiful birds in my backyard and to share these memories with me, and I wish mightily that I could share them with him.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you like these orioles!
~Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Spring migration was in full swing…

Two weeks ago, when the annual spring migration was in full swing, birders were all agog over their unique opportunities to see and photograph unusual warblers and other birds rarely seen in our area. Many parks celebrated with special events, and birders planned field trips to prime location along the shoreline. I didn’t have time to take part in the festivities this year, but to my surprise, on Saturday, May 13th, a number of unexpected guests flew into my backyard bird buffet.

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Through the morning and most of the afternoon birds were flying from feeder to feeder and tree to tree, while I stood and gawked in amazement. For me, the most exciting  visitor was the redheaded woodpecker. Downy and red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors. Even the pileated woodpecker that I blogged about yesterday has become a regular this summer, but seeing that redheaded bird in my backyard was a huge treat and a cause for celebration.

Could I ask for a more photogenic guest? While he may be common in other areas, he is definitely a rarity in my backyard buffet. What an unusual Saturday that was!

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
~Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, pileated woodpecker, spring

Woodpecker morning

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A quick look out the kitchen window this morning reassured me that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are still around. Both were sitting on the new bluebird nesting box I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post. They didn’t stay long enough for a photo opp, but I was very happy to see them. Next the pileated woodpecker announced his arrival. He was alone. His mate didn’t put in an appearance, but several other woodpeckers did. Take a look:

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A starling shared the hopper feeder with the pileated.
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Pretty soon a red-bellied woodpecker flew in.
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For a while, the red-bellied and the pileated dined on opposite ends of the hopper feeder.
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Just look at the difference in the size of these two woodpeckers!
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And finally a downy came for his breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Downy are constant guests at the Backyard Buffet.

Breakfast time ended when the pileated woodpecker flew over to the trunk of the huge oak tree on the edge of our property. I took this picture so you could see how high up he was. We think he may be nesting in that hole because he lands there often, and Bob actually saw him fly in to it a few weeks ago. Baby pileated woodpeckers??? Wouldn’t that be a treat!
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See you soon. Thanks for visiting today.
Trail Walker
Posted in Back yard bird buffet, backyard birding, bird photography, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird go house hunting

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My last 10 days have been busy, so busy I haven’t had any time to post my pictures of the drama in our backyard, but Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird have been even busier. Their hunt for suitable housing has been a challenging one.  2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_0060

Mr. Bluebird took the initiative in the house hunt. Maybe his mate was nagging him to get out there and find them a place to raise their young. For a few days he was very industrious, while she sat on the sidelines and watched.

He seemed to be really attracted to the brand new box. He tried to enter the door, but halfway in he would change his mind, back out, and fly over to the old, weather-beaten box. Time after time, he repeated that maneuver, going into the old box, then flying over to the new one, but he never could seem to get into the shiny new box. Maybe he had the wrong key? Eventually, the landlord (My husband), decided to lend a hand. Out he went with a drill and a file to make the entrance a little wider, but Mr. Bluebird still didn’t seem to find the entrance satisfactory.

After watching this process for a few days, Mrs. Bluebird must have lost her patience watching him try out first one box, then the other…over and over again, because eventually she flew over to supervise.

Before long she tired of the role of supervisor and flew over to a nearby tree where the goldfinch must have given a sympathetic ear to her complaints. Then for a while she simply sat on the sidelines and watched.

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However, her mate wasn’t finished yet. Back he flew to the new nesting box for another go at getting inside.  He tried and tried. He was determined!2017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01492017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_01462017_05_15_Places_backyard buffet_00732017_05_12_Places_backyard buffet_0167

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Mr. Bluebird looks with longing at the beautiful nesting box. He really wanted it, and he put his heart into getting in, but it was not to be.

For several days, I spent a lot of time at my kitchen window, watching this drama unfold. The hapless house hunter never did get into the new home he had set his heart on. I thought they may decide to settle for the run-down box I won at a raffle several years ago, but I’m not sure. He persevered and made a valiant attempt, but at this point, it doesn’t look as if he succeeded.  It would be exciting to see their little family hatch and fledge. I’m not giving up hope yet, but I didn’t see them today, so it is possible they have moved in somewhere else. When I have some news, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for visiting the backyard buffet today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker